Harry Styles’s resurgence into mainstream media



Harry Styles changes his boy band, pop inspired music in One Direction to a more rock and roll and funk sound. His album “Fine Line” released on Dec. 13.

It’s 2012. The catchy melody of One Direction’s “What Makes You Beautiful” plays as you ride in the backseat. For some, the creators’ names have faded, but one lingers: Harry Styles.

Styles reached stardom early in his career with the formation of the boy band One Direction on the X-Factor UK. For five years, his extensive contract with Syco confined him to a cookie-cutter role.

“When you’re in a boyband, you fit into this mold where you have to dress, act, talk a certain way,” Ella Jones (10) said.

After the indefinite hiatus of One Direction and the release of Styles’s first solo album “Harry Styles,” his music and image underwent a metamorphosis. Pop music transformed into indie rock, and the British playboy was replaced by a traditionally feminine image: floral, sparkly suits and a pink album cover, which he defends is the color of rock and roll.

“Outside of One Direction’s management, he can express who he is. He’s been painting his nails, wearing all these rings. It’s his style. It’s not ‘this is more feminine, this is more masculine’ー that’s just him,” Katie Armstrong (12) said.

His highly anticipated album “Fine Line” was released Dec. 13 and includes the single “Lights Up.” The “Lights Up” music video, which was released on National Coming Out Day, set the album’s tone for fans, saying that his new album will be more inclusive of races, sexualities and genders.

“It was very inclusive in terms of [race]. In One Direction videos, everyone was stereotypical white. He doesn’t label his sexuality, and he’s in the LGBTQ community, so I think he knows that not everyone is bound to one gender,” Tya Arnold (12) said.

His ability to grow with his new audience and Gen- Z’s progressive minds is why he’s been able to distinguish himself outside of One Direction.

“In 2012, when you’re in a boy band, being gay… is wrong,” Jones said. “Now it’s 2019: teenagers are more expressive and confident, and he’s definitely a role model for teenagers to know it’s ok to be themselves.”